HPV Vaccine Is Now Recommended For Ages 9 – 45.

Gardasil 9, a cancer prevention vaccine protecting people from cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), received new guidelines from the FDA. The vaccine is now recommended for adults up to the age of 45. Previously, the HPV vaccine was only approved for people ages 9 to 26, with a big emphasis on getting kids vaccinated around age 11 or 12.

As noted in TEDxRiverton speech given by Deanna Kepka, Ph.D., MPH, 80% of the global population has had, has, or will have the HPV virus. There are several strains of the virus. Gardasil 9 protects against the major cancer-causing HPV types 16 & 18, along with 7 other strains of the infection. While most people actually clear the virus, for those that don’t, the concern of cancer is a big deal. Australia has almost eliminated cancers caused by HPV, according to The Guardian.

Cancers caused by HPV include cervical, mouth and throat, vaginal, vulvar, anal, and penile. The number of mouth and throat cancers caused by HPV have surpassed cervical cancers, making the case for both men and women to receive the vaccine. The vaccine is most effective prior to any sexual activity, and why, it is recommended for children prior to age 12. New studies show the vaccine can benefit older adults because they are not often exposed to all nine strains covered by the vaccine.

The announcement on October 5th, “represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as stated in the Washington Post.

Gardasil 9 was approved by the FDA in 2014; an older version of the vaccine covered only four types and is no longer distributed in the United States, the agency said.

Learn more about HPV and cancer prevention.